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photographing kids isn't hard...i swear! {photography tips series}

I originally posted this for fellow moms and dads and why my photography is different from others. But I think these are great lessons to learn as you're trying to photograph your own kids, so I'm adding it to a blog post!

Moms and Dads - we've all been there. We know what it's like to try to get our three year old (or as I refer to them as "threenagers") to sit for a photo or even just look at the camera. Whether they're overly shy or extremely energetic, they're ALL independent and want to do it their way. 

Isn't the photo above gorgeous? This little girl had the most beautiful, sparkling eyes and the most gorgeous expressions. I bet you're wondering, how did I get her to pose like this?!

I didn't.

I don't believe in forcing a child to sit and "pose". It's not going to work. Plus, you won't be happy with the results, trust me. The smile will be forced. The eyes won't sparkle. The expression will be generic. It won't be YOUR kiddo in the photo.

Instead, I approach the session differently. Let them play! This little girl refused to look at the camera. Her response each time was "no". It was adorable (seriously)!  She was such an independent little girl, exactly the trait you hope for in a child! So I tried some tricks in my hat:

  • I sat with her on the dirt and showed her pictures of my own daughter from my phone - she was so intrigued, she wanted to know everyone's name!

  • I climbed down a rocky hill to pick her a cattail to play with and blow in the wind (don't try that with sandals on....I have. It's not pretty). 

  • I played with the cattails in the wind - let them pull it apart, experience the fuzziness! A lot of kids have never seen one before!

  • I had one child who ADORED Harry Potter. Guess what?! I'm a PRO when it comes to Harry Potter trivia. Bet you can't beat me.

  • I play peekaboo - some kids love this, others don't. One little boy was so shy at the beginning that peekaboo was the only way I was going to see his face. This was one of my favorite photos that I ever took:

  • Have you ever heard a plane overhead and yelled "IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE, IT'S.............a plane. It really is, LOOK!!!" Well, I have. And this is what happened:

  • And of course, when you tell a kid to hug a tree, that's always a fan favorite:

  • I asked one child whether superman or batman would win in a battle and it turned into a very long discussion about the fact that neither of them would win because Flash would beat them all! And you know what? This is the photo I got during that discussion:

So you see?  You can get a good photo of ANY child, even your own little Tasmanian devils!